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Seniors targeted by new high-pressure tactics in grandparent scam

The Calgary Police Service is warning the public about new forms of grandparent scams, after seeing a spike in reported incidents in the first half of 2023.

Grandparent scams usually involve a swindlers calling seniors, claiming to be a grandchild or family member, and asking for an urgent payment to cover bail costs.

Seniors would be then pressured into giving that money to another scammer impersonating a court-appointed courier—which do not exist in Canada’s court system.

“Scammers use convincing and high-pressure tactics to prey upon the emotions of senior citizens, ultimately taking advantage of their trust and generosity,” said Detective Darcy Williams of the Calgary Police Service.

New tactics being used on seniors, said CPS, is the demand for e-payments instead of collecting money in person.

CPS said that from January 1 to June 30, police received 99 reports of scammers targeting seniors.

Among the red flags that police are asking seniors and caregivers to be on the lookout for include demanding instant payments with now-or-never pressure tactics.

Police said that when presented with such tactics, the response always has to be no.

There is always time to speak to family, friends, caregivers or other trusted individuals—or in the case of claims about an arrested family member, the police—to verify the legitimacy of the claims being made.

“Our goal is to help facilitate open conversations between seniors, caregivers and families while educating citizens about the red flags of this prevalent scam. We encourage anyone who has been victim to report the incident to police immediately,” said Det. Williams.

More information on the grandparent scams and other forms of fraud is available from the Calgary Police Service at https://www.calgary.ca/cps/community-programs-and-resources/crime-prevention/scams-and-fraud-targeted-at-seniors.html.